KCUR News
7:42 am
Mon June 12, 2006

Audit Find Problems with Revenue Offices

Kansas City, MO – A new audit finds problems in how 11-revenue offices were moved from state to private control in Missouri. KCUR's Maria Carter reports.

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The audit focuses on state run license offices, turned over to private contractors by Republican Governor Matt Blunt in an effort to improve customer service and save the state money. Department or Revenue spokewoman Maura Browning says it was a smooth transition.

Maura Browning: "We did everything we could in as timely a fashion as possible to convert to those branch offices into private contractors."

The audit contends the conversion had problems, letting a Kansas City agent operate from a state office without a lease for six days and sending bid requests for computers, furniture, and other office equipment only to fee office agent. Democratic Auditor Claire McCaskill says much of the process went on behind closed doors.

Claire McCaskill: "If all of us have to endure going to these places and getting our driver's license renewed, they ought to be willing to endure opening their books, so the public has full knowledge and transparency about what's going on."

Branch offices are currently appointed by the governor, but the audit recommends removing license offices from the patronage system. The Department of Revenue says it will competitively bid the next open license office as a pilot project.

Maria Carter, KCUR News.